A Little Rain Can Help on the Course
By Keith Stewart, PGA
When life gives you lemons, make some lemonade. The first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship was showered with a strong Irish mist for most of the morning wave. Players fought the elements by staying in the moment. As if golf isn’t hard enough, the addition of rain certainly complicates things. Watching the players contend with the ever-changing conditions was incredibly interesting.
Get the umbrella out.
Put on your jacket.
Dry off the grips.
Take the jacket off.
Put on your rain pants.
Put the umbrella away.
Observing the best in the world, it is almost as if they are taking advantage of the situation. Amateurs love to worry on the course. They always start asking questions, checking their phones, and losing their focus.
When you have a situation like a rainy or misty day you can use the weather to your advantage. Adding more distractions to the round gives us two opportunities to play better.
- I believe the women I watched benefit from the added details to their pre-shot routine. Think about those times when you are in the woods and just need to punch out safely. The contact is always clean. As opposed to being in the middle of the fairway with a perfect lie and missing the green. In the rain, you clean the grip, check your body, wipe the face, etc. Those extra aspects added from the elements help us stay in the moment. As a result, we perform better.
- The excuse of rain gear, umbrellas and abnormal conditions lower our expectations. Round anxiety stems from getting ahead of ourselves. By keeping dry and essentially adding focus to the weather, we stay in the moment. One of the toughest challenges in the game is managing our mindset. It’s tough to get ahead of ourselves when we are battling Mother Nature.
Focus is a funny thing. It can be our strongest asset and liability all at the same time. One of the most difficult skills to teach as a PGA Coach is how to maintain your attention on what counts. Take a perfect day to play, and we all get lost in the round. We start to project scores and shooting our personal best. Add an element like rain into the equation and suddenly we lower our score. Believe me, that’s not a coincidence and reading this coaching content you now see why.